Monday, November 14, 2016

India's Currency Switcheroo Seems Like a Giant Pain

Following up on Nov. 8's "Whoa: India Messes With Currency Big-Time".
Reuters was reporting that folks had swapped $44 billion worth in the first four days. That's 3 trillion rupees. Don't ask me how many crore that is, it's too early to count the zeros.

From FT Alphaville:

Brief notes from a cash hunt in Mumbai
In which your correspondent (and his wife) navigate the interesting consequences of India’s decision to void nearly 90 per cent of the cash in circulation in the country…

Having prepaid for a car to take them home from Mumbai airport, the morning after was perhaps taken a bit too casually.
“Do you have any cash for my taxi guy?” she asked at 7am.

“Why didn’t you just book an Uber?” he replied crankily before forking over Rs500 ($7) of the Rs620 he had left in ‘small’ notes following India’s shock Nov 8 decision to force all existing Rs1000 and Rs500 notes out of circulation in an effort to crack down on black money.
She took the money, noted his crankiness and suggested he go make the coffee.
With Rs120 in his pocket, he headed into the office hoping to find a working ATM on the way. He was however also wary of being lumbered with a new Rs2000 note. Along with a new Rs500 note, this has been designed to replace the 86 per cent of all paper currency which has just been declared obsolete. There is one small hitch: it’s impossible to break into smaller change.
The new 2000 rupee note, courtesy of an office-mate and unbroken despite her best efforts
The new 2000 rupee note, courtesy of an office-mate and unbroken despite her best efforts. Of the new Rs500 notes, little had actually been heard even if their rollout had apparently begun over the weekend.
Both the hope and concern proved premature. The first ATM, just outside the apartment was shuttered. The second outside the train station was too.

Following a season-ticket-funded journey to Churchgate station, a
smilingsmirking security guard at an SBI ATM said it was best to come back at 7pm when cash would supposedly be arriving....MORE (it gets worse)